Archive for Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Reader seeking low-sodium marinades with plenty of flavor

May 9, 2007


Q: I need to reduce the sodium in my diet. Do you have any meat marinades that do not use salt?

A: Marinades are savory concoctions that bring out flavors, tenderize less-expensive cuts of meats and moisturize. Three basic ingredients are needed:

¢ Acid to tenderize: vinegar, citrus juice, wine or beer. (Soy sauce and tomato juice are also acid bases but tend to be high in sodium).

¢ Oil to moisturize: Use 2 parts acid to 1 part or less oil.

¢ Seasoning to dress up flavors. (Avoid salt because it pulls moisture out of the meat.) Here are some basic marinades:

Beef or pork marinade

1 1/2 cups fruit juice or wine or flat beer

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons honey or sugar or molasses

4 tablespoons marmalade (optional)

Basic beef marinade

2/3 cup wine vinegar

1/4 cup canola or olive oil

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon marjoram

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon dehydrated onion

Chicken marinade

1 1/2 cups pineapple juice or white wine

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon thyme, tarragon or rosemary

Fish & Lamb marinade

1 1/2 cups white wine

2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger or grated fresh gingeroot

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 small clove garlic, minced

When marinating, keep these tips in mind:

¢ Always marinate in glass, porcelain or stainless steel. Don't use cast iron or aluminum as the acid reacts with the metal, causing an unpleasant flavor and appearance.

¢ Marinate fish fillets for 30 to 60 minutes, thick fishsteaks, chicken and pork chops for 1 to 2 hours, and large pieces of meat and less tender cuts of beef for four to 24 hours. To allow the marinade to penetrate, score the surface or cut large pieces of meat into smaller ones. Do not marinate more than 24 hours because the meat fibers will break down, and the meat surface will become mushy.

¢ Cover and marinate the meat in the refrigerator, not on the countertop. Do not reuse marinade.

Q: Does my water softener affect the amount of sodium in the water I drink?

A: If your cold water faucet or a separate bypass faucet is supplied with unsoftened water, then your drinking water is not affected. Or some households have a water treatment system, using either distillation or reverse osmosis, which removes sodium and other minerals whether natural or added by softening.

If you are drinking softened water that has not been treated using one of the methods mentioned above, then, yes, your water softener is affecting the amount of sodium.

When water is softened at home, sodium is added during the process. Home water softening is achieved by passing water through a bed of ion-exchange media which replaces hardness minerals - calcium and magnesium - with sodium. Most public water systems that soften water use processes that do not add sodium.

Q: So how do I determine how much sodium my water softener is adding?

A: To determine the amount of sodium your home water softener adds, you need to know the grains per gallon (gpg) of hardness removed. If your water test is reported in milligrams per liter or parts per million, convert it to grains per gallon by dividing by 17.1. Softened water adds about 8 milligrams per liter of sodium to the water for each grain per gallon of hardness removed.

To figure, use this formula: Sodium added (milligrams) = volume of water (liter) x grains per gallon x 8 mg/L/gpg. As an example, a person who drinks two liters (2L) of softened 30 gpg water will consume about 480 mg more sodium (2L x 30 gpg x 8 mg/L/gpg = 480 mg).

Q: Is it safe to bake bread in clay pots?

A: If the clay pots are glazed on the inside, there is no problem in using them for baking or serving food. However, I can not recommend using nonglazed clay pots in food preparation. Clay pots are extremely porous, which allows for food particles to penetrate the clay, causing microbial growth to possibly take place.

Q: How do you recommend controlling stored-food insect pests?

A: A variety of commonly occurring insects, such as grain beetles, Indian meal moths and flour beetles readily infest almost any type of cereal products, e.g., flour, meal, spices, mixes, nuts, grains, pet food, etc.

Infestation may develop at home or prior to purchase. Inspect and discard all infested products.

To control, store in tightly sealed containers. Place undamaged products in the freezer for three to four days to kill suspected pests. Clean shelves with soap and water. As a final optional step, spray pantry area before replacing foods. Use a space spray, of pyrethrins, allethrins or resmethrin. Follow manufacturer's instructions for use.

- Susan Krumm is an Extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper St. She can be reached at 843-7058.


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